Carroll Village shopping centre Parol Ltd and Carroll Village (Retail) Management Services Ltd, must re-open its anchor store under a 20-year ‘keep open’ clause in a lease agreement
The anchor store Superquinn was forced to re-open the store following the first closure in February 2009.
Superquinn then went into examinership before it was bought by the Musgrave chain.
The store closed again because it was not included in the Musgrave buyout.
Friends First say they have made extensive efforts to find a new anchor but without success.
They claim that as a pension fund they are not involved in the management of supermarkets and can only try to persuade a new anchor to take over the premises.
The High Court has granted an application for Parol and Caroll Village to have the case transferred into the Commercial Court list.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly rejected arguments from Friends First that the case was about the loss of rent from the premises.
Parol and Carroll Village, said the closure in 2009 and in August of 2011 decimated the rent roll.
They are seeking an order from the courts that Friends First re-open the anchor unit and an order for damages.
They claim it was in breach of the ‘keep open’ obligation entered into in 1999.
The Dundalk Superquinn anchor store opened at the Carroll Village Shopping Centre in 1999 and had 14,000 customers per week and 5,000 household customers - people whom they dealt with on a regular basis. They prided themselves on having a lot of services that differenciated them from other major stores.
The store was owned by Fergal Quinn who set up Ireland’s first proper supermarket in Clanbrassil Street in 1959. It was called Quinn’s at that time, and the company, having gone nationwide, became known as Superquinn in 1971.
At the Carroll Village Superquinn anchor store there was a bakery on site, a full fresh fish service, and full tracability of all meat products.
They even had the Superquinn sausage product..
They called their staff “colleagues” and relied on them for interaction with the customer, many of whom they knew by name. At a time when many Dundalk shoppers were tempted to shop in the North, they prided themselves on putting the customer first and on the fact that they were a family-owned business.
They saw themselves as the anchor tenants and scotched all rumours that they would be taken over. Fergal Quinn said he had been listening to that for thirty years.